One of the things we love about Kingdom Hearts is that we get to dive into the worlds of our favourite Disney movies and experience them from a whole new perspective. And with Kingdom Hearts III almost here, we’re even more excited because for the first time, Pixar worlds have been added to the roster too.
Because we really can’t pick just one world that we like better than all the others, we’ve put together a list (in no particular order) of some of the ones that we think are vying for the top spot. Are there any of your favourites that we’ve missed?
So, the first world on our list might seem like an unusual choice, as Traverse Town isn’t based on a specific Disney world. In fact, it’s made up from the pieces of several scattered worlds, which in our opinion makes it several times more interesting.
As the first world you get to explore after the Destiny Islands, Traverse Town acts as a central hub for wider exploration, and with plenty of secrets tucked away in every corner, it’s particularly rewarding for intrepid explorers.
Plus, its calm woodwind and piano theme music is enough to catapult you back into your childhood after hearing just the first few notes.
With its more realistic art style standing out visually from the rest, the deliciously moody yet prettily moonlit setting of Pirates of the Caribbean is definitely a top contender in our books.
Recreating all our favourite bits of The Curse of the Black Pearl (including the most pirate-y music we’ve ever heard from the original movie), Port Royal let us live out our pirate dreams alongside everyone from Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa through to Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner.
And not being able to defeat the bad guys unless the moon is shining on them is a really nice touch.
Hundred Acre Wood
This world is a little bit unusual in that it’s only accessible through the pages of a magical storybook – and there aren’t any enemies to fight, either. Instead, Hundred Acre Wood is a magical world of minigames and puzzles, which are both ridiculously adorable and fun to play, which is a winning combination in our books.
Plus, Pooh and friends are our childhoods personified. What wouldn’t we give to meet them for real?
There seems to be a bit of a trend lately for hand-drawn animation nostalgia (Cuphead and Bendy and the Ink Machine, anyone?), and for us, Timeless River ticks a lot of the same boxes.
The whole Timeless River world is an affectionate nod to the roots of Disney animation, with slapstick comedy, fairground music, and a nostalgic monochrome 20s aesthetic. And we also get to meet Mickey Mouse as he was in Steamboat Willie, which as you may remember is the first cartoon in which he appeared. And that’s actually pretty cool.
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly! Enough said.
Since Neverland was one of the Disney worlds we most wanted to visit as children, it’s hardly surprising that it’s made our list of favourites now. With Captain Hook’s pirate ship, the island itself, and even Big Ben to explore (and with a super tough secret boss hidden inside the clock), we only wish we could go there for real.
Once a beautiful castle, now a dark and moody ruin with a distinctly industrial feel, Hollow Bastion is home to some of the toughest bosses in the series. With tons of puzzles and minigames to get through first, it’s also one of the bigger worlds around.
Memorably, Hollow Bastion is also the location for Sora’s epic battle against 1000 Heartless, and while we’re in no hurry to repeat that experience for a while, we have to admit it’s a very atmospheric place to do it.